10-6-2005 The Blogfather?

From the e-mail inbox "What the American people have seen is this incredible disparity in which those people who had cars and money got out and those people who were impoverished died."-- Ted Kennedy on Hurricane Katrina

"Ditto."-- Mary Jo Kopechne

If you happen to reside within the confines of Wilkes-Barre, the following Times Leader story had to be of some interest to you:

Posted on Wed, Oct. 05, 2005

W-B council to vote on redistricting

The body, which would drop to five members under the plan, may accept it or set up the panel again.

By JENNIFER LEARN-ANDES jandes@leader.net

WILKES-BARRE – After years of dodging the matter, city council will vote tomorrow whether or not to adopt the five council districts carved out nearly three years ago by a special redistricting committee.

Assistant city solicitor Bill Vinsko confirmed the vote will take place, but refused to divulge which way council members are leaning.

They can either accept the plan as is, or attempt to reactivate the committee.

Vinsko has said some council members wanted to reactivate the committee so it can reaffirm its work at a publicly advertised meeting, cleaning up past allegations of a Sunshine Act violation.

Critics say council is ignoring a judge’s order to implement the plan, and is trying to change the shape of the districts. City voters chose to switch from seven to five seats in 2001 – a decision that has been challenged in court and upheld.

The matter came up during Tuesday’s Luzerne County Election Board meeting, when Stephen A. Urban again criticized fellow commissioners and board members Todd Vonderheid and Greg Skrepenak for failing to intervene.

Vonderheid said he preferred letting the city work out the matter on its own rather than taking the “extraordinary” action of getting involved.

Backed with case law, Urban said he feels his constitutional rights are being violated as a city resident and said Vonderheid and Skrepenak aren’t being leaders.

“I’m going to do everything in my power as an individual to move this forward,” Urban said.

Urban also used the meeting’s public comment platform as a forum to blast Vonderheid for recently describing him as “cowardly.” He pointed out his 24 years of military services, rising in rank to lieutenant colonel and serving in two wars.

“I am not a coward. I will stand up and look anyone in the eye who calls me a coward,” he said, staring right at Vonderheid.

Vonderheid said Urban took his comment out of context. He said he was questioning some of his voting decisions. He added that he respects Urban’s military record.

Let's start with Dr. No, otherwise known as minority commish Steve Urban. His god-given "constitutional rights are being violated as a city resident?" Oh! How utterly dramatic. Oh, and how completely full of bullspit, too. Here's the skinny on all of that drool.

The only reason Dr. No was pushing so hard for a 2005 council vote by re-defined voting districts was to try to tap into the voter discontent borne of impatience and get his rabble rouser buddies elected on the republican ticket. That's it! The activist/republican candidates did not want to wait until 2007 to take on the incumbents after the most visible of the high-profile projects would have been completed. In other words, by 2007, his fellow republicans probably won't stand a chance of getting themselves elected in Wilkes-Barre. They needed re-districting, a smaller council and a rush to vote on those council seats this year, while some residents are still watching the city's slow ascent from hell with a still somewhat skeptical wait-and-see attitude. The time was now and by 2007, Stevie's myrmidons won't stand a friggin' chance.

Tough break, Stevie. In my book, saying one thing while meaning a whole other thing is kind of cowardly. Oh, and I don't stare down near as easily as Vodd Tonderheid, champ.

Now, let's do council. Basically, no matter what the f>ck they do, someone will be nipping at their ankles regardless. I've heard all of the conspiracy theories.

1) If they re-draw the districts, they will do it in a way so as to ensure their re-election. But a few of them reside in the very same districts. (?)

2) If they decline to re-draw the districts and re-convene their Blue Ribbon re-districting panel, they'll surely tell that committee what to do and also how high to jump.

3) If they stick with the plan to reduce council by 2 seats in 2007, they are somehow resisting the will of the people. Nevermind the fact that they were elected to four-year terms in November, 2003.

4) And if they did agree to a special election in 2005 as the activist/republicans and Green Party dopers fought for, they again would surely gerrymander those new voting districts to help their chances at retaining their seats.

Did I miss any?

So, no matter what council decides tonight, someone will be crying foul. Being that some of them will be fighting for the same districts no matter which toddler re-configures them and the fact that 2 of them are going no matter what, I think they should re-draw the city's districts themselves and just take the heat. Besides, passing that responsibility off to an independant panel smacks of the base re-alignment commission claptrap. Don't blame us, we didn't do it.

Will somebody just do it already???

Fink's fish market, formerly of Penn Ave., was recently knocked flat and hauled away. I imagine those homeless slackers that had claimed squatter's rights to the loading dock will find some other place to sh*t up.

And just this evening a gigantic crane was delivered to the Murray Complex, also of Penn Ave. The landscape of the city continues to change and all for the better.

From the e-mail inbox Hi Markie,

I'm a fellow Nord Ender, Coughlin 197X. I'm a local blogger and I think you may have seen my site. I did an around the neighborhood post and I hope you will check it out:


You are the blogfather and I always enjoy your posts. I don't always agree with you but I want to thank you for bringing problems to attention.


Yeah, man. I visit your site. I like it. It's well done. Actually, I absolutely love reading what the locals think about the state of the world. As near as I can tell, there aren't that many bloggers in this valley of ours. I went and checked your post and as it turns out, I've visited every one of those sites at one time or another. I think they all try to convey what they think to be the truth, and not a one of them is offensive in any way unless you're way too far to the right, or off the scale on the left side of things.

The only one I find to be hypocritical is put forth by a blogger who feels free to type away, while seeing to it that an earlier version of my site was deleted by the host due to said blogger's complaints. Sorry, but this free speech stuff has to apply to everyone no matter how stupid they may wish to sound. And if I sound stupid, feel free to tell me so. What the hell, everyone else does.

I was talking to a local celebrity the other day and she said I seem to thrive off of people trying to bust my jewels. She got that right. As Tommy used to always say to those in need of a beating: "If ya wanna fight, we'll f>ckin' fight!!!" Fact is, I do like to mix it up in these electronic forums of ours. But me reminded, I'm not nearly as acerbic in person as I come off as being on the internet.

The "blogfather?" That's a freakin' new one. Somebody once called me the "Rush Limbaugh of Wilkes-Barre," which really isn't the case. Yet another called me the "Matt Drudge of Wilkes-Barre," which, while Tom McGroarty was the mayor, was probably completely accurate. But, the "blogfather?" I like that.

Anyways, y'all should check out Gort 42. Add it to your faves and get a free Sony Playstation III for a limited time only.

From the e-mail inbox Golf's Worst Foursome


WHY YOU ASK? Well, Your going to love this!


Clinton doesn't inhale...he sucks.

Labor & Industry Bldg.

From the e-mail inbox Hey Mark,

I agree 100% on the donation malarkey! I have taken to giving things to the people I personally know or utilizing the dumpsters. I have given to the Salvation Army, Reach, and oh yes, Iraq...............but no more. Unless of course we want to do another ship it to Iraq campaign.

These local organizations that want to help save the world really need to consider the fact the some people don't want to be saved, just be a burden on all of the rest of us. I know you have needed to use these services in the past, so have I. The difference is that when it was time to be weaned, we didn't do it kicking a screaming. We went willingly, wanting to stand on our own two feet, not someone else's. The local organizations really are going to be hurting until they come to the realization that its time for changes to there old ideas of "help".


I hears ya. When I was chatting with that local celeb I mentioned, I told her how I make it a point to visit the Turkey Hill directly across the street from the Salvation Army's adult rehab zoo so as to closely observe those folks supposedly trying to get clean and sober. Trust me, those guys aren't laying low, or acting humbled by their predicaments in any discernable way. Rather, they hoot, hollar, prance around and generally act like a bunch of immature jack-asses in front of whomever happens to be within earshot.

They constantly have young women dropping by with small packages in hand. They go into that store and carry on so badly, they usually drown-out the Turkey Hill Radio Network, or wherever it is that music more aptly suited for bomb shelters happens to emanate from. If these guys have suddenly found God, I fail to see how it's helped them, while they carry themselves so poorly the way they do. You'll find that more often than not, you can judge a book by it's cover.

I'm of the firm opinion that these save-the-world outlets should concentrate the bulk of their energies on the poor and the semi-literate single mom type families, while leaving the druggies on the lam to the criminal justice system when it finally catches up with them. And when it comes to the Salvation Army in particular, if they must go mute while their "residents" are murdering people, then I'm going to decline from sending them even one more hard-earned penny of mine. As I said, the boycott is on and no outfit, commercial or otherwise, has ever been taken off my boycott list.

Just say no.

From the e-mail inbox Sorry Mark.

You know how I get when I start rambling. Clear in the mind, disjointed in the text. Anyway, what I should have conveyed was that under the Kennedy administration Dad was breveted the rank of brigardier general in the Airforce (complete with uniform and regalia) to expand the reach of Radio Free Europe in the former soviet satellite countries. Radio Free Europe was run under several entities including but not limited to the State Department, Department of Defense, the C.I.A., etc.

It was, as you know, a propoganda machine used to wage ideological warfare in an unstable environment. How successful was it? The historians are still debating that one. Most of the peritinant documents won't be declassified for another 30 years or so.

Any who, off to get a hair cut and my own new glasses. Heading upstream tomorrow and will finally drop off those CD's I made for you. Later,


Clear in the mind, disjointed in the text.

I do that, too. Although, I think my efforts might be better described as being disjointed in the mind, clear in the text. Or something thereabouts.

I still believe that if we had the 82nd Airborne and the 10th Mountain Divison lead The Ramones, KISS and Blue Oyster Cult on a whistle-stop tour of the Soviet Union circa 1978, the history books would read much differently today. Picture it...

Maybe your dad should have taken some guitar lessons and bought a wa-wa pedal. Oh, nevermind.

CDs? Did somebody say something about dropping off CDs? You sure know my ultimate weakness. Sh*t! I'd trade ten Sharon Stones clad only in wet tissue paper for a kick-ass CD any 'ole time. Actually, I've been a very bad boy of late. Let's put it this way: If Joe Nardone Jr. adds a thousand square feet to his abode any time soon, he owes it all to me. Glad I could help out.

One of these days you'll likely head upstream and never come back. Not a bad idea. No sense getting any ulcers over this much-maligned place we call home.

As for myself, I'll always be here avoiding discretionary driving, bicycing all over the freakin' place, piling CDs upon piles and piles of CDs, and demanding better than what I've come to being accustomed to.

Disjointed in the mind, and happy right where I'm at. In Wilkes-Barre.

I gotta find that out-of-print Fabulous Poodles disc.

From the e-mail inbox It is hard to find a joke today without a dirty word or two in it, but, here is one:

Two tall trees, a birch and a beech, are growing in the woods. A small tree begins to grow between them, and the beech says to the birch, "Is that a son of a beech or a son of a birch?" The birch says he cannot tell. Just then a woodpecker lands on the sapling. The birch says, "Woodpecker, you are a tree expert. Can you tell if that is a son of a beech or a son of a birch?"

The woodpecker takes a taste of the small tree. He replies, "It is neither a son of a beech nor a son of a birch. It is, however, the best piece of ash I have ever put my pecker in.

Wipe that smile off your face.

Feel like a bit of homework?

Give it a try. Read the following internet post I snagged from the local scene, send me your thoughts on it, and then I'll disclose just who it was that bothered to write it. Sound like fun?


13 more American soldiers died in the last four days. When do we start counting? At what point do we start saying to ourselves "everyone who dies in Iraq after this point, died in vain." Died in vain. It’s the rallying cry I remember with embarrassment from the Viet Nam War. It’s the rallying cry I used myself until 1970. I said that’s why we had to stay in ‘Nam stopping the spread of communism, because if we didn’t all the soldiers who had already died would have died in vain. Lyndon Johnson said we had to stay the course back in 1967; George Bush said the same thing this year. History shows that by early ’68 Johnson realized the war was lost, and proved it when he announced he wouldn’t seek another term. But it took 3 more presidents and 7 more years to get us out, by then tens of thousands more Americans had died, and the communists took over anyway. How many Americans died in vain? Since the commies were there before we arrived in ‘Nam, and were willing to spend the 15 years it took to force us out, then nothing really changed, did it? So, how many Americans died in vain? It’s the same question we face in Iraq. How many Americans will die in vain? When do you start counting? People like me who opposed the whole trumped up invasion thing believe that every dead American died in vain. But many people think it was a good idea to get Saddam out of power, and believe it was worth some casualties. Others believe it’s a noble goal to bring democracy to the Middle East, and think that’s worth some casualties too. Well, we’re racing towards 2,000 dead Americans in Iraq; we should pass the mark before Halloween. That’s when I’m going to start counting each casualty as someone who died in vain. I believe it’s more than fair, especially since there were fewer than 200 dead back when the president declared "mission accomplished." Iraq is headed toward civil war. Whether they sign a constitution or not, the country will disintegrate as soon as we’re not there to prop it up. The internal signs look terrible. The Defense Department admits the number of trained Iraqi battalions has declined in recent months from three down to just one. And yet leaders of both parties say we can’t just leave. Why not? Because it might look bad? Because if we leave it’ll look like we don’t care about the Iraqis? How many American lives is appearance worth? We went in false, we went in alone, and we went in light. Now we’re trying to back out and call it democracy. It was much the same in ‘Nam. I’m surprised so many have forgotten. Iraq is not going to end well, no matter when it falls apart. If we leave now, the civil war starts sooner. If we stay on, it starts later and more Americans die in the interim. Either way it’s our fault. The only question we have to ask ourselves is, how many more Americans have to die to make it look like we’re doing the right thing? Because make no mistake. When our leaders continue to wage a war they know we aren’t going to win, every single person who dies; dies in vain.

Alien V in downtown Wilkes-Barre

I'm gonna go watch some base-a-ball.